Facebook Inc (FB) Earnings: What To Look For

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) will report its 4Q12 earnings results on January 30. The social media giant is expected to report impressive results as its investment in sponsored stories, promoted posts and FBX begin to pay dividends. Facebook has also gained traction in its mobile monetization campaign, as it seeks to utilize the greater part of its massive user base. Facebook made a milestone progress with its search business, and also launched a jobs App to rival Linkedin Corporation (NYSE:LNKD) in the professional networking platform.

FB Chart

FB data by YCharts

The company put out a resilient performance during the lock-up release period, which saw nearly two billion new shares become available for sale in the market. Facebook has rallied from a low of $17.55 to trade at around $30 per share proving critics wrong, even at the height of the lock-up releases.

Several analysts including Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE:DB) upgraded the stock in 2013, with nearly all price targets well above the current market price of $30. Topeka Capital and Deutsche Bank have a price target of $40 on the social networking giant.

In a report published Tuesday 29, Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) analysts said  Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is likely to report results in line with or above Reuters Consensus estimates. Morgan Stanley boosted their Price Target for Facebook on January 2, from $31 to $32 per share.

In the report, Morgan Stanley wrote, “We expect 4Q2012 net revenue and EBITDA to be in line with to above Reuters consensus, which calls for growth of 35% Y/Y / 21% Q/Q, and 19% Y/Y / 23% Q/Q, respectively. Our estimates call for ad revenue to increase 43% Y/Y driven by 22% ad impression growth and 17% Y/Y pricing growth. We look for Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) to generate mobile ad revenue of $319MM, comprising 24% of total advertising revenue. In our view, positive stock catalysts include Facebook reporting total advertising revenue growth of more than 45% Y/Y and mobile revenue comprising more than 25% of total”.

FB-Income Statement

The analysts expect a 15 percent increase in payments revenue  from approximately 21 million paying users. They expect it to be in excess of $216 million, while Ad revenue is expected to be approximately $1.35 billion for the quarter. Facebook’s gross margin is expected to improve slightly from 74.9 percent to 76.9 percent, quarter-over-quarter.

EBITDA Margin is expected at 58.2 percent up from 55.5 percent reported in Q3, while the incremental EBITDA margin is expected to at 42.3 percent from 39 percent reported in the previous quarter. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is also expected to recover from two consecutive quarterly losses to report GAAP income of $271.5 million or GAAP EPS of $0.10, up from a loss of $0.08 per share in Q2 and $0.02 in Q3.